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Rivers in Uttaranchal

Home –» Rivers in Uttaranchal –» Bhagirathi


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The Bhagirathi refers to two rivers, one, bhilangana and other a distributory of the Ganga.

A turbulent Himalayan river originating from the Gangotri glacier in Uttarakhand, which flows for about 700 km before merging with the Alaknanda at Devprayag at the holy confluence (Sangam). The river downstream is known as the Ganga proper. The controversial Tehri dam lies on the Bhagirathi, near Tehri.


Alakhnanda River is another Major tributary of Holy Ganga, supposed to be one of the rivers come out from Kailash Mansrover in Tibet. This river is good for first time rafters. It is a good float trip for families with grade II to III + rapids down to Rishikesh. The trip starts from Rudraprayag, a small town on the Badrinath road, famous for the man-eating leopard shot down by Jim Corbett in 1932. Rudraprayag is also known as a holy place for Hindus who come here to have dip at the Ghat (confluence) of Mandankini River and Alkhnanda River to wash their sins. According to Hindu myth, all the places on Ganga are known as holy places where tributaries of Ganga meet in. The entire rafting stretch is about 136 km from Rudraprayag down to Rishikesh. We raft down the river, stopping for night camping on unspoiled silver sand beaches, and visiting local villages on the riverside in the afternoon to see their culture and life style.
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The Pindari Glacier, in the Bageshwar district, falls in the Kumaon Himalayas and has lured mountaineers and trekkers since the last century. It is one of the most easily accessible of all the Himalayan glaciers. Pindari's rugged beauty offers a breathtaking sight, especially for the trekker who is in love with nature in all its pristine glory. The Pindari Glacier is an unsurpassable and an exhilarating experience.

It lies between the Nanda Devi and Nandakot peaks and terminates at an altitude of 3627 m. The Glacier is 5 km long, the snout is about 6 m high and 2.5 m wide and above the snout, the glacier extends for about 3 km in length and 300 - 400 m in width, between an altitudinal range of about 3600 m to 5000 m. The Pindari Glacier is located in the Pindar Valley between longitudes 79° 13'-80°02' E and latitudes 30° 15' N. It occupies an area of 339.39 sq km. The valley is drained by the Pindar river that emerges from the Pindari Glacier. The river, in its initial course, flows through sedimentary rocks. Further to the south, it meanders through quarts schist. Granite is found in abundance in this area. The Pindar river has cut a gorge in thick glacial deposits up to nearly 10 km, resulting in the formation of spacious glacial terraces spread on both sides of the gorge. Further down, from Phurkia up to Khati, places enroute to the Pindari Glacier, one comes across numerous waterfalls, hanging valleys and tremendous rolls cliffs as the one of at Dwali. One has to go by road up to Saung which can be accessed from Almora, Bageshwar and Kathgodam and thereafter one has to trek 45 km up to zero point (Pindari Glacier). The colour of Pindari Glacier is very white and at some places, spots of light blue and brown may also be seen.
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Ganga, the holiest of all rivers for Hindus, has its origin in Uttaranchal. Gangotri, the origin place of Ganges, is a highly revered place and forms a part of Char Dham in the state. Ganga starts here as Bhagirathi. The popular myth says that king Bhagirath performed very hard meditation to ask god for water of Ganga, to wash away the sins of his ancestors. Ganga came to earth and was trapped by Shiva in his locks. Shiva opened a lock of his hairs and Ganga came out to stay permanently on earth. Ganga is supposed to be very sacred, and is worshipped in all the cities, where it flows. A bath in Ganga is supposed to wash away all the sins of life. It has been studied by scientists that the water of Ganga at its origin is in a pure state and even after being kept for several years, does not get contaminated. These medical properties of Ganga water are attributed to the medicinal secretions of herbs and mineral content which get mixed with the water.
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Yamuna is another highly worshipped rivers in India. The river has its origin in Yamunotri, a glacier in North Uttaranchal. Yamuna, as per mythology, is considered to be daughter of lord Sun, and sister of Yamaraj, the god of death. Yamuna flows from Uttaranchal and reaches Allahabad, via Delhi, where it confluences with Ganga. Yamuna is also considered very holy and is the main source of water in Delhi, capital of India. Yamunotri is also a part of Char Dham Yatra in Uttaranchal.
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